Two positive assurances have emerged one each from Kabul and Islamabad in response to the appeals made to them by India at the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan when the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the regional countries met on November 10. The conference chiefly aimed at helping Afghanistan in establishing stability and peace by eliminating the menace of terrorism in the region and to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghans. India has been helping Afghanistan in multiple ways for several years and now it has realized that the war-torn country deserve even more help particularly humanitarian aid. The conference was planned accordingly and chaired by India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Davol. Earlier meetings of this format were held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019.
Expectedly, though now invited, Pakistan and China did not attend the November 10 conference in Delhi as though to prove their anti-India axis. However, at a similar conference held in Islamabad on November 11, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf claimed that his government had not offered any amnesty to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), but talks for peace were being continuing with it.
In the meeting held in Pakistan and its extended assembly known as “Troika Plus,” the Taliban was asked to sever links with all international terror groups. The meeting was attended, besides Pakistan, by special representatives from the US, China and Russia. Reports indicate that Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also met the representatives of these four countries. At the end of the day-long discussions, the four countries issued a joint statement expressing deep concern for the degrading humanitarian and economic conditions in Afghanistan and calling for “unwavering support for its people.”
While the Taliban have assured that Kabul would implement the findings listed in the Delhi Declaration, Islamabad has assured that it would consider the passage of India’s aid material to Afghanistan via land route of Pakistan. However, it is left for Delhi to give credence to the assurances of the Taliban regime of Kabul and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Islamabad.
The Delhi conference, which was presided by India’s National Security Advisor, was participated by the representatives from Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmensitan and Tajikistan. The conference was convened to voice the concern of these countries and to seek to ward off the ever-lurking threat of terrorism, extremism, radicalism, separatism and drug trafficking in the region and also not to use the war-torn Afghanistan under the Taliban regime as a base for spreading terror.
India has also asked Pakistan to facilitate through its land route to transport 50,000 MT of wheat as a humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. India’s intention is also to free Afghanistan and neighboring countries including Tajikistan and Uzbekistan from the threat of terrorism.
Although no country thus far has recognized the overpowering Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the three conferences took places with the participation of a total of eight countries – one in New Delhi and two in Islamabad on November 10 and 11 respectively. While Pakistan declined to attend the Delhi meet, China had excused itself quoting “scheduling problems.”
At the main conference and its extended “Troika Plus” held in Islamabad, Moeed Yusuf denied Pakistan granting amnesty to TTP members, claiming, “No such decision has been taken yet, but it could not be completely ruled out such a possibility in future.” Obviously hinting that granting such an amnesty to TTP members would be possible, Moeed Yusuf said that with the Taliban capturing power in Afghanistan the situation had changed. He alleged that the militant outfit had been receiving support from India and Afghan intelligence for over a decade.
Notwithstanding holding of TTP members responsible for “thousands of killings,” including over 132 school children in Peshawar, the issue of granting amnesty to them was initially raised by Pak President Arif Alvi and subsequently by its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi linking it with a plea to end of terrorist attacks, and hinting that the Prime Minister Imran Khan is in favor of such a move. It is evident that Pakistan is not in a mood to give up nurturing terrorist groups, as Islamabad perhaps wants to grant amnesty to TTP members so that other terrorist groups sheltered in the country would continue to be active. Furthermore, China and Pakistan have been working closely in dealing with the new Taliban government in Kabul, which came to power in August, after a messy withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn Afghanistan.
Though India and its supporting nations are working to free the region from the threat of terrorism and establish peace and stability there, Pakistan, with its continuing hunger to destabilize Kashmir, and China with its expansionist intention to occupy the Himalayan borders of India, are not willing to back good intentions of Delhi.
– Contributed by Mr. J.V. Laskshmana Rao, a former National News Coordinator of Express News Service, New Delhi, and former Chief Editor of US-based India Tribune. He frequently travels between India and the US.
Picture: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the National Security Advisors of eight nations in New Delhi (Credits – PTI)